From June 1st to June 6th, the Vienna Independent Shorts film festival happened. At this festival, awards are given to various international films that run at less than thirty minutes. The VIS is the largest shorts film festival in Austria, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors. But another aspect that makes this festival unique is that it is Academy Award qualified, which means any films that gets an award from the VIS is qualified to get an Oscar.
So why talk about a small international film festival on a video game website? Well, one of the awards that was up for grabs was the jury prize for animation. And the winner for that award was...Everything. No, not every nominee won; Everything was an eleven minute video made by David OReilly which... is a video game trailer. That's right, for the first time in history, a video game is qualified for an Oscar.
Now let's be clear, the game itself isn't qualified. It is the eleven minute trailer that may snag the best animated short film award this year. But trailer or not, Everything is still a video game and having this trailer win this award is groundbreaking for the video game industry.
The video shown consisted of gameplay of Everything while listening to narration of British philosopher Alan Watts. Despite the hilarious lack of walking animations and taking control and moving around as an inanimate object, the trailer was beautiful, with its subtle music and quotes from Alan Watts that show me just how important everything is and how nothing can exist without the other. But don't just take my word for it, here is what the jury of the VIS had to say,"The "Jury Prize - Animation" goes to a film, which beyond being entertaining has a strong poetic and philosophical theme. It serves a highly educational purpose, including an important political statement, that encourages to let our egos dissolve and gain a new perspective on the world."
Now this doesn't mean that you will see the game in Dolby Theater. What this means is that the film is on a long list of films that qualify for the award. The chances of actually seeing the film in the nominations is slim and seeing David OReilly with an Oscar in his hand is even slimmer, but the fact that a video game has made it this far shows that video games can be art just as movies can be art.
David OReilly not only made a great game, he made a great short film that could win an award that is meant for another form of entertainment. This game should hopefully show to others just how impactful and artistic video games can be, and how video games are breaking new grounds all the time with innovation and creativity. But who knows, maybe David will end up with that shiny golden statue in his hand. We will have to wait and see what films get put into that nomination list.
Article from the Vienna Shorts Festival discussing the winners of their 2017 awards:https://www.viennashorts.com/nc/en/news/article/date/2017/06/06/vis-2017-triumph-fuer-us-doku-animationen-raeumen-ab/
Here is the video that won the Animation award and is qualified for the Oscars: